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tv   The Place for Politics 2016  MSNBC  February 1, 2016 4:00pm-5:01pm PST

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7:00 p.m. in the east, 6:00 central. the people in iowa tonight will change the political balance in the united states. >> heading into iowa sometimes you kind of know what's going to happen. and the suspense is what's going to happen next. but it's not the situation this year. there is legitimate suspense on both sides. it really is going to depend on how many people go out, both on the democratic side and on the
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republican side. we've seen donald trump leading in the most recent polls. and he's way ahead in new hampshire. we see bernie sanders way ahead in new hampshire. he and hillary clinton are trading the lead in iowa. this much genuine uncertainty, not just in the big race, but what's going to happen tonight, is unusual. it's fun and it makes what iowans doing tonight really, really important in the country. >> a big a story with the republicans as with the democrats. statistical dead heats going into the night. chris hayes is at one of the caucus sites tonight, at the state historical society. chris, talk about the activity behind you. >> all right, brian. this is one of the biggest caucus sites in all des moines. there are six different caucuses that will happen, three on the republican side, three on the democratic side. behind me here, in that auditorium, is the biggest caucus. they're expecting about 250 people. right now you see the supporters coming in, and a lot of
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volunteers and the precinct captains. the captains are those people who will stand up in the room and make their pitch for their candidate and essentially running this. it is an all-volunteer operation as people come together in almost this sort of colonial town hall model. and what these folks are going to do, all these people coming out here on a monday night, starting to talk to each other and wearing their gear and starting to talk to friends about who they want to support, what they'll be doing is electing delegates for the state and county convention. those delegates will ultimately elect all the way up to send people to the national party convention, which, of course, will divide the share among the different candidates for the nominee. it is such a different situation than the drabness of election day lines where people are quiet, there's a sort of crypt-like atmosphere. it's the opposite. a lot of kibbitzing, joking, talking, people with as much swag as they can fill their bodies with, to let people know. and a tremendous amount of
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energy and enthusiasm, as bizarre as this process is, as foreign and alien it is to most folks who just go in and check off a box, and as many drawbacks as there are that you have at night that someone on the night shift can't come, there is something truly spectacular about being around people just doing the basic mundane work of citizenship with each other for no other reason than they care about the outcome. >> there's a mastadon and woolly mammoth depicted on the wall behind you. across town we go in des moines to chris matthews, and company, at our election headquarters. hey, chris. >> good evening. you know, i think a couple points we should get on the table before we go on. the big difference between the two parties is gender. i was going over the numbers in recent caucuses. the democratic party is heavily female. it's 57 to 43.
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that's dramatic. 14-point spread there. on the republican side, it's exact live the opposite. 57% male, 43% female. and i think it gets to this question of trump and how you react to him, men versus women. my hunch is men are more inclined to trump. this is the reason, i think. he is certainly objectively a bully. the way he treats his opponents, the way he's treated women in these debates, including moderators, like megyn kelly and carly fiorina, a rival. he treats people as a bully would. now the question is, what kind of a bully is he. is he a bully in the foxhole next to you against the enemy or a bully confronting you in the schoolyard. if you see him as confronting you in the schoolyard, you don't like him. but if you see him sitting next to you in the foxhole, then you want him on your side. this is something norman came up with years ago in his great novel "the war: the naked and dead." you have this terrible person,
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until you face the real enemy and he's at your side. i think a lot of voters, if they vote for trump tonight, agree he's a bully, but see him as an ally in his bullyism. i think that's what it's about here tonight. >> chris, take it one step back further. the ideal of campaigning to the right, and running to the center, when does that happen? >> well, clearly bernie sanders people tell us something the democratic party that i've never heard before from either party. he's not going to go to the center. he is not going to -- he's not going to etchy sketch, erase what he's been saying in terms of much larger social security benefits, public college being paid for, tuition being paid for, lifetime right to health care. he's not giving up any of that as he goes through the general election. so to me that would be another handicap for him. but it is what he's saying right now. i think going to the center, trump is going to have to find a
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way to talk to suburban women, republican women, especially up against hillary clinton. he will get the working class white voter. he will get that fella, the guy who didn't go to college, because he feels a lot toward trump according to the polling recently. but when it comes to women with college degrees, women who live in the suburbs, to get them, who are very sensitive to this bullying behavior, he's got to find a new front to present, clearly. >> chris matthews joining us from des moines. you know, that mind from the trump campaign there's no chance he's going to moderate at all, stay hard right, that may be true. it may also be exactly what you need to say before the first ballots are cast in the republican primary. we'll check back in once we've gotten an apparent nominee. right now we have to go to a very, very important message. a message from the lincoln heights lutheran church in des moines, iowa. very important message from
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lincoln heights lutheran tonight. who will win the caucus is known only to god. and maybe chuck todd. the one and only chuck todd joins us now from des moines. chuck, you're god's wing man when it comes to predicting the outcome of this. hope that's not intimidating. >> very intimidating. the lutherans are very good people. i hope they're okay with the fact that i happen to be jewish. but we all have the same god on that front. hey, one thing i would just say, i think as we're watching this night, the two political parties and their leadership, they're staring into the abyss tonight, guys. there is a chance that trump and sanders, if they both win, then the democratic party is going to see somebody who's not even a registered member of it, essentially win the first battle in an attempt to take it over. and trump is a guy who hasn't voted in a republican primary since the '80s. and he'll win -- could win the first battle in taking it over.
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this is a political earthquake that i think we're all sitting here gaming out iowa scenarios, new hampshire scenarios, this is an earthquake that would be taking place. sanders beating clinton, trump upending the entire system, and the way he did it. i think it's a reminder that there really is some anxiety in both parties. and if we see results like this, and it would only happen if we see this surge in turnout, and it's all possible. these are all margin of error races, i think it's going to shape the political landscape in a way that i don't think we've fully comprehended yet, with trump. i mean, this is -- you're going to see a bunch of ways that they'll try to stop him as they go on. but this will be a man that is essentially doing a hot style takeover of the republican party. but sanders, if he wins, essentially would be doing a more benevolent version of a hostile takeover of the democratic party because you could argue in many ways he's
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not -- it's not that he's running against president obama, but he's -- but it would be seen by some as a bit of a repudiation. and that is a sense of, it's time to truly break the china, don't just rearrange it the way president obama did. so i think that as we watch tonight, that's what's at stake. not just who gets enough delegates out of cedar rapids. >> yeah, i think, chuck, that's the way bernie sanders, after his meeting at the white house, came out into the driveway, and talked about the record of the obama-biden presidency. i think he was seen as being pulled back in that meeting that he asked for. >> i think that's right. when you look at t"the des moins register" poll with president obama with 90% approval rating with the democrats, that's why hillary clinton is hugging him and basically wants to run as the way a vice president would be running, as we've seen
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beforbefore with george hw bush. what would fuel sanders, are not people that feel like this is about supporting barack obama. it would be about a lot of people feeling it's time to take over, or take back or however you want to describe it the democratic party, and shift it in a different direction. don't just sort of try to move it and try to inspire it. actually break the china, and let's go and let's rebuild. >> we're with the lutherans for now. chuck todd's our guy, too. thank you, chuck, very much. kevin tibbles at a gop caucus at the church of christ. hey, kevin. >> well, we are about a 15-minute drive south of des moines. and we are at a republican caucus. they're expecting as many as 300 people here tonight. as you know, we've been around town all day today talking to
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people at the soda fountain and other places. a lot of people say that tonight is very important for them. many of their spouses are going to be caucusing for the first time. the main issues that they think about here are national security, and, of course, the economy. as you can see, we've still got about an hour to go. and people are already starting to line up and give me their names. i want to end up with one thing, and that is, this is a very high-tech caucus here in indian ola tonight. each candidate has a representative. each representative will be allowed to speak for three minutes. it's going to be timed on this high-tech egg timer. when the time is up, that's what's going to sound. and you've got to stop talking when this thing sounds, or it's going to sound again. i'm thinking they should perhaps start using these at the presidential debates. what say you guys? >> you might be on to something. kevin, if you haven't talked about why the egg timer and bicycle horn were in your hand,
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i was going to ask. kevin tibbles in indianola. we want to check back in with this again. live pictures of the democratic caucus. the folks are getting off of work. and coming out to caucus. this is at the historical society, where we heard from chris hayes, the aforementioned mastadon and mammoth on the right. >> in the countdown clock, it's 47 minutes. we keep saying over and over again, the national media covering this saying over and over again, the doors close at 7:00 p.m. what the campaigns are telling people, the caucus starts at 6:30, making sure their supporters get there in time. because once the doors close, you can't get in. they've been telling people, you need to get there, you know, a long time before the doors close. that's why we expect to see these crowds really thickening
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throughout the state right now. this is the time when everybody at 2,000 sites all across the state is turning up. it will get busier and busier over the next couple, 43 minutes. >> a couple of t-shirts, a couple of lapel pins, a couple of bernies, a couple of hillarys, probably a couple of o'malleys in the crowd as well. this brings up the interesting martin o'malley thing tonight. what the o'malley supporters can do to give hillary clinton a firewall against bernie sanders. >> the martin o'malley folks are committed martin o'malley supporters. after all this combat that has happened on the democratic side, and with hillary clinton and bernie sanders being so far in the lead of martin o'malley at this time, you're not wishy-washy about it. you would have been pushed off
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that mark a long time ago if you didn't feel strong about it. martin o'malley was asked recently what his caucusgoers might be facing pressure that they formed a 15% viable group at any individual caucus. they're trying to be wooed to go to either the other two candidates. his message was, stand firm. his message was, do not give yourself to your second choice candidate. try to be 15%. try to be available at any one of these sites. if you've got a caucus site with 300 people at it, you've got to get, what does that mean, 45 people to support martin o'malley in order to stay viable. and there's going to be a lot of pressure on them, both in terms of where they might go, in terms of their second choice. but also, there may be pressure, there may be tactical pressure for campaigns, particularly the clinton campaign to have their own supporters join with the martin o'malley supporters, get them over that 15% threshold. that will keep them viable.
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that will prevent them from dispersing the clinton campaign, and polling suggests if the o'malley supporters disperse, most of them will go to bernie sanders. the clinton sam pain may be bolstering the numbers across the state to keep the martin o'malley campaign alive for their own purposes. >> chris hayes looked like he had something to say to us. however, we have to fit in a short break here. 45 minutes until the closing of the doors in iowa.
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jacob was reporting earlier. and on the left is in des moines. and rachel standing by with a special guest. >> we do have a special guest. it's on the democratic side of the race. it's been interesting to watch today the way the campaigns have been telescoping their expectations. very last campaign events by the two main democratic candidates, bernie sanders, interestingly, seemed to be assuring his voters, his supporters that he doesn't need to win in iowa, that his campaign will go on even if he doesn't win in iowa. in contrast, hillary clinton today and last night, she seems to be telegraphing to her own people, her own supporters that she thinks she's going to win in iowa. she's calling her big watch party tonight for the iowa caucuses calling it a victory party. is that risky to raise expectations like that, or is that earned confidence? joining us now is a high-profile supporters of secretary clinton, senator claire mccaskill.
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thank you for being with us. >> thanks. this is a great night. if you love a democracy, and you love grass roots politics, it is -- no matter what candidate you're for, i hope americans are proud of the way we go about this. because i sure am. >> you are vibrating at a very high intensity. i can recognize that, because i think i'm on the same frequency. >> i know. another civics nerd. >> it is a very exciting time. let me ask you about an interesting turn that happened in electoral politics, which you did. in your last reelection bid, in the united states senate, you spent a lot of money in your campaign to essentially try to elect your opponent, to try to choose your opponent for the general election. you invested a lot of campaign money to make sure tom aiken was the republican nominee against you in missouri. you ran what looked like an attack ad against him that was really designed to get republicans to support him. a republican superpac is doing that to bernie sanders right now
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in iowa. they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars running an ad that's supposed to look like an anti-sanders ad, but in effect make liberals support him. having been a practitioner of this dark art, do you think that's politics at its most exciting or weird, sor is there something a little underhanded about that? >> well, i just want people to figure it out for what it is. the republican attack machine has chain saws for hands. hillary clinton has faced those chain saws for a lot of her adult life. meanwhile, all you have to do is look at bernie sanders and realize the republican attack machine has not touched him. and you have to ask yourself why. the reason why is they would like bernie sanders to be the distribute nominee, because republican operatives and all that dark money that is buying those negative ads, they want bernie sanders at the top of the ticket for the democrats, because they believe they can
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defeat him. >> are they right about that? you obviously are a centrist democratic senator. you represent a purple state. you won reelection as a democrat in the year that your state went strongly for mitt romney over president obama. in that kind of centrist place in the country, do you think there would be a big difference in terms of the effect, the effect on democratic candidates of having bernie sanders versus hillary clinton at the top of the ticket? >> i think it's tough for bernie sanders if he's the nominee. as we get closer to november, people begin to visualize who is going to be the commander in chief. who is going to stand for us, in a very dangerous and complicated world. bernie, while we all agree on most of his priorities, he has not shown, he doesn't have experience and not shown a great deal of interest in foreign policy. hasn't really demonstrated the breadth and depth of knowledge you need to lead this country in this dangerous time. besides that, for 25 years, he's been more comfortable in
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congress identifying himself as a socialist and a democrat. and frankly, railing on these issues and hasn't really moved the needle. the question is, who can get things done for these progressive values. i believe that's hillary clinton. >> let me push that point just a little bit on the foreign policy issue. what senator sanders argue is he may not have experience as secretary of state, he may not have done foreign policy, punched his ticket in terms of foreign policy -- holding public office, but he was right on the important issue of the iraq war. hillary clinton was wrong. he would argue. and a lot of people would argue in terms of the vote. she herself say she would wrong on that vote. the democratic nominee may be running against an anti-iraq war republican. if the republicans pick donald trump. isn't that still sort of a litmus test issue in which bernie sanders was right and she was wrong? >> i think most americans are going to want a foreign policy that has more depth to it than i was right about the iraq war
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vote. and that seems to be the only thing that bernie has shown a mastery of. he talked to people, who he listed as foreign policy experts, they say, i don't know why he's on my list. i maybe talked to him once last summer. a lot of people made a mistake on the iraq vote, because they were getting bad information from george bush. bad information from donald rumsfeld and dick cheney. she acknowledged that in the meantime. she has a broad grasp of how complex the world is right now. i trust her across the table from putin more than any other person running for the presidency, regardless of their party. >> senator claire mccaskill, democrat from missouri. thank you so much. enjoy tonight. >> you bet. i will. you, too. >> during that conversation, we were watching all the while on the left-hand side of the screen, and now center screen, these various different
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locations where caucuses are taking place. again, folks have gotten off work, they are showing up regardless of the weather. in des moines, where most of the population is, we've been watching, it remains still a fairly mild tem practice night. lawrence o'donnell has joined us. eugene has joined us. >> i'm struck by senator mccaskill's appearance. because there you see the kind of turn that occurs in politics all the time. she's making an argument tonight that is opposite the argument she made eight years ago. eight years ago, she endorsed the inexperienced senator from illinois over the experienced senator from new york, hillary clinton. she used the experience argument in exactly the opposite direction. and so, you know, when you hear this from endorsers, you will almost always be able to find an opposite version of that endorsement in their background if they've been in the business
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long enough. >> on the endorsement, though, bernie sanders has almost no endorsements to speak of. none from capitol hill whatsoever. so you've got somebody like claire mccaskill who was out early for obama in 2008. didn't have a hard decision apparently to make between them this time. >> as you recall from eight years ago, hillary clinton had most of the endorsements early. and then she lost some of them. in terms of the expectations of the two democratic -- major democratic candidates, you know, i think the reason you're hearing hillary clinton is calling it a victory party, and you're hearing her predict a victory, there's no way she can lose gracefully. there's no way she can lose in iowa and spin it positively. so he has nothing to lose in the way she's spiing it, right? whereas bernie sanders could lose in iowa, he has new hampshire coming up, where he's expected to win, so he can lower
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expectations. >> it's a bigger blow to hillary clinton, you're saying. >> it's a bigger blow to hillary clinton. so she can -- why not spin it as a victory. >> democracy on live television. enough about this studio. look at what's going on in iowa. we're going to take a break and come back with our live coverage. >> people can't wait. people who have health emergencies can't wait for us to have some theoretical debate about a better idea that will never, ever come to pass. >> what secretary clinton has implied throughout this campaign, that somehow i, who spent my life fighting for universal health care, to guarantee health care to every man, woman and child, somehow i'm going to dismantle the health care system and leave millions of children without health care, elderly people without health care. that is an outrageous and increst statement.
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we're back a half hour before doors closing time in the caucuses. we've talked for days about what a caucus looks like. this is what a caucus looks like. live pictures of a school gym, democratic caucus in davenport, iowa. considered mostly a working class community. this is what it looks like. they will divide up into mostly into three groups, o'malley,
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clinton and bernie sanders when the time comes. their precinct captains will stand up and di aes them. in des moines, chris hayes at the other democratic caucus, chris? >> brian, there's a huge, huge crowd gathered here. there's actually six different precinct caucuses. folks are signing in. that notification is a notification of loyalty that you sign actually. basically vowing that you meet the criteria to vote in the election, and also that you're with the party that you're going to caucus with. but there are a ton of folks here, not just people to caucus, but volunteers as well who are coming to sort of take this in and watch their work come to fruition. iowa is host to folks from all over the country, particularly in the midwest, who come in to volunteer this time of year, just to talk to a bunch of students for hillley up in kansas city. folks from nebraska, from kansas.
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there's a lot of energy right now. and also a fair amount of logistical pain that goes into processing this number of people in, as you can see, not a particularly cutting edge fashion. they're keeping it old school here. sheets and sign-ins. >> chris, can i ask you a question about that specifically? there are hundreds of people and they all need to go into different rooms, depending which precinct they're in and which party caucus they want to be in tonight. is there an element of chaos to this? i ask specifically, because in 2012, there really was a lot of very important chaos in the republican caucus. obviously in 2012, on the democratic side, there was none. but there is some consternation that it's possible that the parties aren't up to it, especially if they get a big turnout tonight. >> yeah. you know, in the caucuses i've covered in the past, and i was in nebraska in 2008 which was complete chaos when they tried to import the complicated iowa
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model into nevada. i was in the caucus site where i literally had to call someone to break up a fight because i thought there was going to be violence at a caucus site. this is the normal chaos. you know, like an airport, when there are lots of canceled flights kind of feeling. everyone ultimately will end up where they need to be, but you get that antsy, anxiousness that you're standing in line and you don't quite know where you're going. everyone is getting processed, they'll end up in their locations. i mean, as they say about the iowa caucuses, it's trying to pull off 1,600 weddings at the same time. it is an unbelievable organizational undertaking. this is a fairly well organized caucus site, and there is still the harried airport feel here. >> the high turnout, as you're at one of the larger caucus sites in des moines. chris hayes, thanks. we'll be coming back to you. across town to chris matthews, who's with robert costa of the "washington post."
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>> brian, i have to tell you, it's great television to be able to show that the way we did. the wide angle. to see the whole thing. i love the mixed metaphors of chris hayes there. they were great. too many marriage also at one site. and of course, the idea of a gate change at a big airport. everybody's racing to the other gate. i thought that was great. let me ask you, robert costa is the national political reporter for the "washington post." we're going to have the top reporters here throughout the evening, as i said. on the ground here now, people are showing up. that's a reflective picture, right? >> it is. i've been checking in with most of the campaigns in the last hour. they say across the state, the college campuses and small rural towns, a lot of turnout. turnout at the middle schools, high schools, churches. not just on the republican side, both sides. >> so a couple reasons, the excitement about the two outlying candidates, is that a fair assumption, hillary clinton and sanders are drawing the extras in? >> a lot of new registrations. i said to my sources, especially
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on the republican side, are you watching who's signing in? you are register tonight. >> which you can do in iowa. you can do the same thing as a democrat. it's unusual. >> very unusual. it could be a boon for sanders and trump. if they're bringing new people, that's the edge if they win. >> what do you make of this thing that came up earlier today? people telling me, grown-ups, not firsttime voters, you can vote here if you turn 18 by november. people that haven't made up their mind, even today, but they are going to vote, committed to vote but not for anybody especially. >> i've been hearing from party officials, in the republican party, that people are calling to headquarters trying to figure out what to do. they want to participate in the process. what's striking is when you talk to voters today heading to the caucuses an hour ago, they still haven't made a decision. they want to participate. >> but they're committed to the process. >> they're committed to the process. they want to keep the process. this state values the caucuses.
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they recognize -- >> i heard that from david yepsen, by the way. >> it is something that the state carries with pride. unless you go around and talk to people, they talk about it like a family affair in this state. they want it to stay. they know the party committees could easily nationalize the primaries next time around. >> i just saw a minority voter there. it is largely a white crowd, to be blunt about it. >> it is a very white state. this is an election, when you're walking around today, an hour ago, i was trying to figure out what's happening in des moines, you sense democrats are coming out for clinton, veteran democrats, they want to send a signal that the party shouldn't go too far left. the college students are all with bernie. >> let's talk to trump for a second. that could be the big news of the night. you've got some rapport with him. what do you make at his look tonight? >> the biggest moment of his campaign.
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he had a choice in early january to not play here. he could have let cruz win iowa, give it a little bit of attention. focus on where he was ahead. new hampshire, south carolina. he decided to go at cruz. >> early knockout. >> early knockout. that was the key decision. if he wins tonight when no one expected him to be a favorite here, that's a key moment in the race. >> that's exactly, brian and rachel, what john kerry did here in 2004. he said i'm not going to wait for new hampshire. i'm going to come out and knock out howard dean. he slammed them dead here and won the nomination. it shows a lot of guts to come out and say i'm going to win in the first round. it looks like that's what trump is still hoping to do tonight. back to you, brian and rachel. >> chris matthews with robert costa out in des moines. we're hearing from viewers, yes, when the doors close, we'll still be able to see these caucuses at work. yes, you heard that you can caucus if you're 17 in iowa. as long as you're turning 18 by november. and why is iowa the first in the country? it is because it is.
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the party enforces it. they will actually penalize you with convention delegates if you try to jump in front of iowa as the first caucus, or new hampshire as the first primary. and we're going to take another break, as we approach the top of the hour. and the closing of the doors where our cameras will remain behind. it's caucus night in iowa. decision 2016.
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doors close in the iowa caucuses, and the caucuses themselves start up in about a quarter hour. a live shot from des moines. we were talking earlier this hour about congressional endorsements for the democratic candidates. bernie sanders has two congressional endorsements. at least that we know of. keith ellison and raul. put that up against hillary clinton's congressional
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endorsements, she's been endorsed by 39 sitting u.s. senators and 155 members of the house. but you know what, members of congress don't decide who the presidential nominee of their party is going to be. that is decided by voters. bernie sanders tonight in iowa in particular is counting on big turnout and tons of support in iowa's college towns. among them, iowa city, the home of the university of iowa, and the home for tonight of our own jacob who is at the caucus site there. jacob, i presume things are keeping up and filling up. >> filling up, showing up, relatively unbelievable thing to see, rachel. i talked to the caucus chair, carla smith, she did not expect it to be this big. the people here in line to register to vote. first time voting? first time? you guys are registered. these guys are all in line over here to vote. they're trying to separate people that have participated before from folks that are registered. are you registering to vote right now?
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registering? all these people are registering to vote. if you look at this table right here, that's exactly what's happening here. they expected something like 160 to 230 people to show up. when president obama ran here in 2008, the numbers were in the low 200 range. it looks like just from the sight of things, i know you have that big bird's-eye view of what we're looking at in the field house, i wouldn't be surprised if the numbers got bigger than that. if you look down this way, this is where the preference groups are going to assemble once everybody gets their pitches from the precinct captains and caucus chair. all going to assemble in this area for bernie sanders, hillary clinton on the far end, where that group is assembled. last time i asked the precinct chair, the caucus chair, she said there was not a martin o'malley group assembled here quite yet. >> jacob, first of all, that space where you are, this beautiful 1927 field house, as i said, probably among the largest indoor spaces in all of des
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moines. we keep hearing all of iowa, rather, we keep hearing turnout is up in a lot of the higher population centers. and what you're reporting from there is holding with that. >> yeah, that's right. one thing i do think we should all remember, though, brian, is i was told by sort of a local johnson county, which is where we are, cedar rapids in this area, local johnson county, whether 50 or 500 people show up to this location, they're still going to be leaving here with six precinct level delegates and 91 state delegates equivalents in johnson county. bernie sanders has to perform well in the western part of the state, which is a more rural area. even if those precincts have a small amount of people to show up to grab those delegates as well. it's six delegates that you're going to leave here with us proportionately split up amongst the candidates. >> people are running their laps above. and down below --
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>> yeah, they're still running right now. >> fantastic. >> i wonder if they're going to come down and actually caucus once they're done with the run. as we were talking about earlier, they could probably do a little same-day registering, and come right down and caucus. >> yeah, they could. you can run and caucus in the same evening in the state of iowa. jacob, thank you very much for that. we want to talk to chuck todd in des moines what we're witnessing tonight. again, we keep getting various accounts. and look, we'll get hard numbers when we get hard numbers. doors close in 14 minutes on these caucuses. we have spared our viewers the discussion of delegates thus far tonight. we thought we would get a finishing order before we talk about that confusion. chuck, what are you seeing? >> well, look, i would also remind people, it's going to be very frustrating watching the results come in on the democratic side versus the republican side. because we're going to going to
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get one vote on the republican side. the democratic side, you'll start hearing a phrase delegate equivalencies. that's going to be horrid. as far as television definitions are concerned. but that is what they're going to be fighting for as these caucuses go on. and who knows, look, i think just a few things to keep an eye on. over the last two iowa caucuses, both huckabee and santorum ended up doing better than their last poll result. what does that mean? it could mean that the evangelical vote, number one, consolidates in that caucus room. or number two, that they were underpolled in that. so that's something to keep an eye on with cruz. and obviously trump relying on the firsttime caucusgoers to inevitably, his number is likely to be down a little bit from his poll number. the question is, is it enough for cruz to close the gap. the other odd -- you know, we go through this, and we all dine
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out on anecdotes. the anecdotes can be the death of you as a reporter. but the best new piece of information that i got today came from kay henderson from iowa. she said there's an intangible you can't ignore, and that is, in these caucuses, every candidate has somebody who represents the campaign to make their pitch. if you are -- remember, in some of these small towns, everybody knows everybody. let's say you're the trump campaign, or the cruz campaign, and the person you got in a precinct in marion county, they seem so gung-ho. little did you know that that's the person that is ticked off every neighbor in their street. and when they find out they're the ones for so-and-so, they may roll their eyes and may actually cost them votes at a caucus. what kay henderson was saying, that's the part of the caucus that is unpollable. that the person that represents the campaign could -- it's not all politics is local. all neighborhoods are local. and that that could end up swaying votes in ways that you
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can't understand, or you can't poll. >> real good point. also, there's going to be some data floating around, especially the internet tonight, because there are entry polls getting taken of people going into their caucuses, entry pollsters hand you a form. you kind of choose to self-define yourself. i'm sorry, that's redundant. department of redundancy department. and the first wave of that data is notoriously suspect. so don't believe everything you see and hear tonight. we hopefully be the purveyors of the truth and justice here. >> brian? >> yeah. >> quickly on that. not only is it unreliable, even if it was perfect, because it's an entrance poll. people will be persuaded -- there will be a handful of people -- look, the cruz people, their plan tonight is this, any huckabee, santorum or carson supporter, they're going to be pleading with them. we know how much you love dr.
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carson. but if you want to consolidate, you know, christian conservatives, you've got to go with a guy that can win. carson, that will be interesting to poll was wrong or the cruz people did a good job of persuading in the caucus room. when you see this stuff, just be careful of it. >> thank you. we'll be coming back to you. our coverage continues right after this.
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just about six minutes until the top of the hour when the doors are supposed to close to all those people still entering and pulling into some of those caucus locations. folks are off of work and going to express their preference across iowa. >> we're having reports these are crowded caucus sites that turn out looks big. you can't tell until you get the numbers. a big number on the republican side this terms of turn out will be good for donald trump. that said, when polls are wrong in iowa, it tends to be on the republican side because christian conservatives have been undercounted. where the turn out is high is going to make a really big difference. >> donald trump heading in to a caucus location tonight from his motorcade. one of four candidates in this race at this point getting
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secret service protection. we'll take another break and be back at the top of the hour for the door closings across iowa.
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got a two-minute countdown until 8:00 when the doors are supposed to close and accept no more caucus goers in iowa. here is our final two minutes as they file in.
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on the left, that big, heavy populated six separate subsets of caucus goers in iowa. brian williams and rachel maddow with you. >> not only do we know who will win, we don't know when we'll know who will win. i remember in 2012 on the republican side, that night romney supposedly won by eight votes and next day it was a tie. soon rick santorum won by 34 points and ron paul got the delegates. took a long time to sort it out. what's interesting is knowing how well organized the parties are. >> again, caucus location to caucus location of good turn out, of heavy turn out. none of it worth anything this early hour. >> a turn out's enormous because
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it's exciting to look at those people. we have impressions that it's big, but we don't know. >> we a know a good number you have are on the web while watching and listening to us. we know there's a lot of information out there. we have just cranked 8:00 p.m. in the east coast. it is safe to report the earliest earliest, again, be very suspicious of what we call the first wave data. this is officially for use. after 8:00 p.m., this is based on very early entrance polls. this is our first look at the boards as we call them, indicating a race, obviously, too early to call. trump, cruz and rubio it appears will in the top three. there is an indication of a trumle

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